The John Spedan Lewis Trust for the Advancement of the Natural Sciences

John Spedan Lewis, armed with a beetle net in the Olive Grove at Menton, 1904
On the Leckford Estate in 2009: Charity Chairman Glynne Evans (centre), and Trustees Alan Wilson and Iain Dalton (right and left respectively)

Founded in 1955

The John Spedan Lewis Trust for the Advancement of the Natural Sciences was founded by the Partnership in 1955, the same year that the Founder retired. According to the terms of a trust deed made in November 1955, the members of the Partnership in this year

‘well knowing the deep and sustained interest of the Founder in the natural sciences and in the advancement of research and education and learning therein and as a mark of their regard for the Founder…subscribed individually and through their Central Council [the sum of £10,000, which would be] devoted to the advancement of education in the natural or any of such sciences’.

Spedan’s grand plan

It had always been the wish of the Founder that the Partnership should have at Leckford something along the lines of a ‘field study centre’. He felt that much of the money made available to the Trust should be saved in order to one day fund this project that would allow among other things a museum and student accomodation at Leckford.

Funding worthwhile projects

At the same time, the trustees decided that it would be good policy to allot small sums each year to worthwhile projects. By the 1960’s, donations had been made to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Naturalists Trust, Oxford University expeditions to Turkey (1956) the South Caspian (1961) and Lapland (1964), the British Musuem’s Natural History expedition to East Nepal (1961-1962) and the University of Liverpool Exploration Society’s expedition to the Canaries (1964).

Honouring the Founder

Although Spedan’s grand vision of the field study centre at Leckford has never been fully fulfilled, much has occured on the state of which he would have been proud. In 1972 for example, several small areas of the Estate were established as Trust Nature Reserves. Since then, countless visiting experts have recorded the many plant, animal and insect species that live there. Thus, the grand work of the Trust to this day has ensured that the Founder’s name has continued to be honoured in the ways that would have appealed to him most.

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